Hondarrabi Zuri is by far the dominant white variety of Spain's Basque Country, making the region's slightly spritzy Txacoli wines. These are light, citrus-tinged wines with herbal, mineral inflections, and provide the perfect foil to the Basque Country's famed pintxos: small, tapas-like snacks that typically highlight the region's predilection for seafood and hot peppers.
The variety is named for a town in the region named Hondarribia, and the word "Zuri" means white in the Basque language. Hondarrabi Zuri's red counterpart, Hondarrabi Beltza, is also named for this town, but despite their similar names, the two varieties are not related. There is some argument as to the origins of Hondarrabi Zuri – some experts argue that it is indigenous to the Basque Country, while other sources suggest that the name is given indiscriminately to three different varieties from southwestern France planted in the countryside near Bilbao – namely Courbu Blanc, Crouchen and a hybrid variety called Noah.
Regardless of its origin, Hondarrabi Zuri is the pre-eminent variety of the Basque Country and forms the basis of the region's Txakoli wines. Here, moist, cooling influences from the Atlantic Ocean make the terroir quite distinct from the rest of Spain, and can be quite challenging for growers. The bright, fresh wines with their taut minerality are a reflection of this landscape, and Txacoli has three associated DOs which all differ slightly stylistically: the oft-seen Txakoli de Getaria DO, followed by the more-inland DOs Txakoli de Bizkaia and Txakoli de Álava.
Hondarrabi Zuri can be blended with a host of minor varieties in the Basque Country. Folle Blanche is the most common, followed by small amounts of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.
While Txacoli wines are enjoying some recognition internationally, Hondarrabi Zuri is not yet found in commercial quantities anywhere else in the world.
Synonyms include: Hondarribi Zuri, Ondarribi Zuri.
Food matches for Hondarrabi Zuri include: